Scottish National Party Updates
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The Scottish National Party’s autumn conference set up a national energy company on Saturday – an implicit reprimand from SNP leader and prime minister Nicola Sturgeon, who promised such a venture four years ago but did not achieve it.
The online conference supported by 527 votes to six against the establishment of a national enterprise to set ‘the standard for Scottish clean power production’, to prioritize the use of Scottish equipment and to provide ‘consumers with limited resources’ affordable power.
Sturgeon has made a promise of a Scottish public energy company the highlight of her speech at the SNP’s autumn conference in 2017and said it would ensure low prices, especially for those with low incomes.
However, the Prime Minister’s government has meanwhile returned from the idea, which does not appear in its agenda for next year, which was published on Tuesday. Instead, the SNPs program for the government a ‘national public energy agency’ promises to accelerate the change in energy consumption, increase public understanding and coordinate investments.
Delegate Marianna Clyde, who proposed Saturday’s conference, in contrast to the national energy company in 2017 confronted an agency that she said was merely advisory.
“I feel we need to do much, much more than simply advising the Scottish public and local authorities on energy efficiency measures,” Clyde said, accusing British energy regulators of undermining the development of Scottish renewable energy by “unfair” “connection charges.
“Without access to energy markets, our large renewable energy sources are being made somewhat meaningless,” she said.
The inability to deliver the promised public energy company gave ammunition to critics of the SNP, who accused it of not keeping promises, such as a high profile promise to bridge the gap in education between better and worse off schoolchildren.
In June, Lorna Slater, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, pushed Sturgeon over the lack of progress at a national energy company, which indicates no action would be taken, would undermine Scotland’s emerging tidal power industry.
However, the purpose of establishing such a venture was not included in a SNP-Green power-sharing deal concluded last month, including Slater joined the government as a minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity.
Asked about the vote, the SNP said the conference ‘had made clear its support for the accelerated carbon consumption of Scotland’s energy supply and consumption, including the establishment of a Scottish national energy company’.
But the party declined to comment on why he was previously unable to set up such an enterprise, or that he would like to do so now.
The opposition Scottish Conservatives said the conference to revive the plan for energy enterprises showed that the SNP was ‘tired and without ideas’.
“Like so many of their promises over the years, these were all headlines and no content,” said Liam Kerr, secretary of Tory Shadow Energy.
While some members of the SNP are unhappy with the recent performance in government and the lack of a second referendum on UK independence, Sturgeon remains very popular within the party and enjoys a huge lead over opponents in the polls.
Sturgeon aims to hold a repeat of the 2014 referendum, in which voters in Scotland rejected 55-45 per cent independence before the end of 2023.
However, she has yet to set a timetable for legislation for a second referendum, which in any case faces a legal challenge, as the British government insists that approval be required.
In an online speech on Saturday, Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP Westminster, made no mention of such obstacles and insisted that voters have the right to choose their constitutional future once the coronavirus crisis is over.
“This is a manifesto that we have made to the Scottish people – this is a democratic promise that we will keep,” Blackford said.